AsianScientist (Apr. 19, 2021) – Gone are the days when burgers were simply made out of beef. In a boon for those following plant-based diets, burgers today are made out of everything from mushroom to mung bean—and in a world first, microalgae!
Whether it’s in the form of a spirulina smoothie or nori flakes, seaweed—also known as macroalgae—has long been savored by humans for its unique umami flavor and nutritional benefits. But it’s not just seaweed that should catch your attention. It turns out that their microscopic cousins, aptly called microalgae, are just as delicious.
Though invisible to the naked eye, microalgae form the source of the food chain for over 70 percent of the world’s biomass. Unsurprisingly, microalgae are chockful of nutrients—containing the same amount of protein as a chicken egs, as well as all essential amino acids.
Given the notoriously high carbon footprint of meat products like beef, Mr. Eugene Wang—co-founder and CEO of food technology company Sophie’s Bionutrients turned to microalgae as an environmentally-friendly alternative to meat. Fermenting various strains of microalgae—including well-known strains like Chlorella—in bioreactors, Wang and his team extracted a pure, protein-rich flour that formed the basis of their one-of-a-kind burger patty.
Each 60-gram Sophie’s Bionutrients patty contains 25 grams of proteins—packing in more protein compared to other commercially available plant-based offerings. The patty also has nearly double the amount of protein typically found in beef and fish at a fraction of the environmental cost.
While the jury is still out on whether these patties can fully replace our beloved burgers, Sophie’s Bionutrients’ milestone attests to the growing popularity of alternative meats and sustainable food production systems. As the effects of climate change continue to become more apparent, having such systems in place should help ensure food security in the future.
“Microalgae [are] a vital source of nutrients in the ocean. By developing this burger, we hope to showcase the versatility of the microalgae protein flour that goes beyond making plant-based seafood products,” shared Wang. “We will continue to synergize the power of nature and technology to broaden our range of plant-based products, while doing good for the environment.”
Source: Sophie’s Bionutrients; Photo: Shutterstock.
Disclaimer: This article does not necessarily reflect the views of AsianScientist or its staff.